Said to be the world’s only commercial-scale producer of naphthalene dicarboxlate (NDC), the Decatur plant has a production capacity of one million tons per year of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and as well as paraxylene (PX).

BP Global Petrochemicals COO Rita Griffin said: "We believe the site — and its more than 400 employees — would be a very attractive addition to the portfolio of another operator."

The company said that the facility would no longer fit with its plan to focus on world-scale, low-cost facilities.

As part of broader restructuring of global petrochemicals business for long-term growth, the company plans to focus on low-cost facilities which use BP proprietary technology including the production of PTA, a key raw material for polyester production.

BP global downstream business CEO Tufan Erginbilgic said: "Our strategy is to significantly improve the cash breakeven performance of the business, enhancing earnings potential and making it more resilient to bottom-of-cycle conditions.

"We look to have a portfolio with BP’s world-leading technology resulting in highly efficient production of PTA in key markets around the world."

The company is also investing $200m to lower operating costs, improve reliability and reduce emissions at its PTA-producing plants located in Cooper River, South Carolina and Geel, Belgium.

The company had acquired the facility in 1998 as part of merger deal with Amoco.

BP is also producing paraxylene and metaxylene at its Texas City Chemicals site southeast of Houston. It currently produces 6.5 million tons of PTA per year at six locations.

Image: The BP’s Decatur petrochemicals complex located in Alabama, US. Photo: courtesy of BP.